Summer is ending, fading in white scattered clouds and cool winds. I have had a special summer this year, full of events, adventure and sunshine. I travelled to Canada to visit the country of Margaret Atwood, the author I am studying for my PhD. I spent a month in Calgary, Alberta, visiting the city and its surprising surroundings, doing my research at the Central Library and meeting people, mainly the poets and writers of the area. Experiencing Canada, its wide horizons, unpredictable skies, welcoming people and ancient terrain was one of the most exciting adventures of my life. The journey was connected with my research and was important for my studies, but it was also inspiring for my writing and my life. Alberta is considered the West, a place of farming, ranching and oil extraction. I was there for Canada Day on 1st July and attended the Stampede, a fortnight event celebrating cowboy culture and Indigenous heritage. I was invited to poetry readings where I read my poems at open mics and attended literary events and performances. I also subscribed to a gym to carry on with my anti-diabetes exercising program. It was all so interesting that I wish to write about what I understood of this unique country with its versatile culture and multi-ethnic population. I must say I felt at home and the time I spent there was entirely worthwhile.
As soon as I came back to the UK, I had family coming from Italy for my son’s graduation. It was fantastic having my sons, daughter, daughter in law and my parents in law with us for such a happy occasion. I frantically tidied the house up and cleaned before they arrived, then cooked and baked a lot. I made lasagne, cheesecake, tiramisu, home made ice creams, cooked various vegetables and soups, and we tasted the products I had brought from Canada as well. I must say the dishwasher was vital. At the end I was exhausted but overjoyed about the good time we had all together, the long chats, a few outings, the sense of being a family though we live far away from one another.